The money piles on Royale after Sarkozy’s nomination
The news that the French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has formally clinched the ruling conservatives’ nomination for President fires the starting gun on a race that could produce the biggest UK political betting market of 2007.
He now faces a tight race against the Socialist’s Segolene Royal, in the elections that take place in April and May to decide who should succeed Jacques Chircac.
All the experience is that what makes a political event attractive to punters is a tight contest involving big personalities who are built up by the media. That’s what we’ll have in France in the Spring and why it could be the biggest market of 2007.
Just compare the betting interest in last year’s major events. For the biggest elections by far in terms of global importance were the US midterms when the ability of President George W. Bush to govern was severely limited when his party, the Republicans, lost control of Congress and the Senate.
Yet when it came to the betting it was the Romano Prodi versus Silvano Berlusconi battle for the Italian presidency that brought the punters in with more than twice as much being wagered. This was despite the fact that the US election was covered much more widely by the UK media and, of course, there was the advantage that the main players spoke English.
The photogenic Royal and the novelty of having a woman contender will lead to massive coverage in the UK. The overwhelming victory she had for the Socialist nomination is an indicator of how powerful a vote magnet she is likely to be. Sarkozy, too, is a big figure reinforced by the easy way he got the right’s nomination.
Last week both were almost level in the betting. Since then it’s been Royal who has moved into the favourite slot with a current betting exchange price of 0.85/1. Sarkozy has moved out to 1.26/1.
Where’s the value? We’ll have to see how the polls develop now we know for sure who the contenders are.